It is no secret that James Harden wants out of Houston. He has made it clear that he wants a fresh start and wants a trade, preferably to a contending team. The Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and a few other clubs have been interested in The Beard’s services. He is a star with elite scoring ability. Any team would be immensely better with Harden on their team.
The Rockets are going to want a haul in return for the former league MVP. However, Harden has been engaging in some questionable behavior ever since he requested a trade. It could be a way to force Houston’s hand to get him traded, but is it working? He might be doing the opposite, sabotaging his trade request by acting the way he has in recent weeks.
James Harden’s recent string of questionable behavior
A few weeks back, the Houston Rockets began their training camp to prepare for the upcoming NBA season. Harden, their best player, didn’t show up on time. He was out partying in Atlanta and Las Vegas, celebrating rapper Lil Baby’s birthday, per Insider. What makes it worse is that he wasn’t wearing a mask at those parties, violating the NBA’s COVID-19 protocols about group gatherings. Harden eventually showed up, cleared all coronavirus protocols, and proceeded to take part in training camp.
The second instance of questionable behavior came when he was in multiple arguments with his teammates during practices. One verbal confrontation he had with rookie Jae’Sean Tate resulted in the former scoring champion throwing a ball at him. Since Harden requested a trade, stories have surfaced about his diva-like behavior. Former teammate Russell Westbrook demanded a trade from the Rockets partially because they allowed Harden to do as he pleases.
The most recent incident came when a video of Harden surfaced at a Christmas party in a club, per Black Sports Online. The NBA COVID-19 protocols prohibit players from being in bars, clubs, lounges, or social gatherings with more than 15 people. He wasn’t wearing a mask (again), putting his availability for opening night in jeopardy, per ESPN. Since that report came out, Harden responded on his Instagram story. In the now-deleted post, he clarified that he wasn’t at a strip club (referring to the original report) and “went to show love to my homegirl.”
It seems that Harden’s actions are out of frustration from not being traded from the Rockets yet. However, this doesn’t make them excusable or justified. It is unsure if acting in this manner will get him out of Houston any sooner, but it could be damaging his value and even his character.
Could James Harden be sabotaging his trade value?
It was already going to be challenging for the Rockets to trade James Harden because they are demanding so much in return. With the recent incidents involving Harden catching headlines, he could be sabotaging his trade value. This could end up prolonging his trade from Houston. The Rockets have made it known that they will wait for the right deal, no matter how uncomfortable the relationship with Harden gets.
Teams might understand that Harden is acting this way only to get out of Houston. He is usually a laid back individual, not voicing his displeasure or acting out. However, other teams could shy away from making an offer. They could use the reports of Harden’s diva-like antics and his recent failure of adhering to the league’s coronavirus protocols as ammo to lower his value in trade talks.
His recent squabbles with teammates could also play a part in Harden’s trade value diminishing. No team likes a cancer in the locker room, no matter how great they are. Clubs might shy away from obtaining him via trade because of the uncertainty of how he will respond with new teammates in a new environment.
Harden’s on-court value is one of the highest in the NBA. It is his off-court value that brings some questions and concerns. Given the recent events, his value off the court is overriding his value on the court. With his trade worth dwindling after each incident, how should the Rockets move forward in the James Harden saga?
What should the Rockets do now with James Harden?
The Houston Rockets have all of the power in terms of moving James Harden. With two years left on his deal, Houston has no reason to rush into a deal they aren’t comfortable with. However, with the way Harden is acting, does it make sense to get rid of him, so this situation is in the rearview mirror?
As mentioned before, Houston is looking for quite the return for Harden. Many teams don’t have (or want to give) the assets the Rockets are looking for. It might be a situation where the Rockets lower their asking price, taking the best offer available for the eight-time all-star.
If the Rockets continue to hold on to Harden, things could get worse. Despite their willingness to be uncomfortable, it seems that Harden is willing to get even more uncomfortable. This kind of distraction could negatively affect the team and their performance. Houston might have to get rid of Harden, so the questions and distractions about him surrounding the team can cease.
The drama continues, as James Harden is still in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons. This could drastically affect his trade value, keeping him in Houston longer than he wants. His value directly impacts the Rockets, as they could get less for him in a trade because of his actions. Who knows when The Beard will be traded, and his latest incident could be doing more harm than good in his quest to get out of Houston.